Build Your Resume with Remote Interning

Build Your Resume with Remote Interning

When you think about an intern, or even remote interning, what comes to mind? The fresh-faced college student who’s happy to run errands while posing hundreds of questions? The high school graduate who is somehow—magically—bringing your team up to speed on all things Snapchat or Instagram? 

Perhaps that word conjured up two often-related phrases: “free labor” or “college credit.”

I bet you didn’t think of actor Robert DeNiro, whose portrayal of a 70-year-old intern to Anne Hathaway’s startup CEO in the 2015 flick “The Intern” shed a dramatic light on the value of wisdom and experience versus technical chops. You probably also didn’t envision 40-somethings Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in their goofy beanies as they explored life at Google in its prestigious (and overwhelmingly collegiate) internship program in “The Internship.”

Yet both films might resonate with a different kind of intern: a professional who is interested in a career change. The truth is, interns nowadays come in all shapes and sizes, and all ages and experience levels. Some are more along the lines of “returnships,” a learning period for those who have spent time out of the workforce.

Regardless, what was once reserved for career newbies is now widely viewed as a welcome adult milestone, a sort of professional foot-in-the-door. While some internships represent pro bono learning opportunities, many more roles are compensated with competitive hourly rates; some may even offer equity percentages.

Swapping Careers, Upgrading Skills, or Making a Comeback?

Many contemporary career paths are nonlinear. Perhaps you’ve found yourself in what is considered to be a dying field; maybe you’ve felt that your skillset has grown stagnant and could use a refresh through hands-on learning. Or you might be a parent or caregiver who is now ready and eager to return to the workforce.

Whether you need to brush up on new technology, try your hand at a lateral move with a big leap in responsibilities, or would prefer to switch fields entirely, you now have a world of options. There’s no lower-risk way to test uncharted waters, building contacts and growing your network as you do.

As a “nontraditional” intern, you might not have the luxury of foregoing a salary or a day job in order to polish a new skillset. You may own a home, have school-age children, or be pursuing a graduate degree; these are all wonderful things, for sure, but they preclude you from moving. Luckily, you can find many virtual opportunities that don’t require you to relocate or even commute, or that offer flexible or part-time arrangements.

Four Smart Steps for Remote Interning and Returnship Seekers:

1. Start with what fulfills you.

Make an exhaustive list of all of your passions, hobbies, preferences, and talents. There are two rules here: don’t be modest, and don’t be too much of a realist. Once you’ve completed your list, do some web research to map your aptitudes to a variety of fields or possible career paths; you may be surprised by what titles and roles might pop up in a general search. This exercise will feel especially liberating for anyone who chose a college major to impress mom and dad.

2. Search thoughtfully.

Job and internship search websites often serve niche audiences. Before launching your search, spend some time considering the kind of remote environment or company culture you’d like to be a part of, and what you’d like to learn in this new professional chapter. For example, if location independence takes top billing, you’ll want to check out’s job board. In addition, FlexJobs offers a list of remote intern positionsNext, freshen up your resume and apply!

3. Remember your marketability.

Throughout all of this, you may feel as if you’re spending a lot of time focusing on deficiencies; after all, you’re seeking a transitional role in order to build upon your existing skills and professional background. It all suggests that something is missing. However, you shouldn’t forget that your past experience can be creatively applied to your next position. You possess marketable, transferable skills that many employers will consider an asset.

4. Work your network.

Now is not the time to be shy about professional shifts or potential career moves. If you’re, say, making a comeback to the world of work or are anxious to join a growing startup, it’s time to let your network know about it. Reach out to your contacts via email and LinkedIn, or spread the word among your friends and relatives. If you feel OK going very public with the news, consider crafting social posts or a blog on Medium that will convey your desired next steps. Who knows? Someone might just craft a role for you.

By Kristi DePaul | Categories: Work Remotely

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